How to Grow Your Yoga Business (Part I)
If you ask a yoga instructor why they decided to teach, you will hear a unique story of how yoga changed their life for the better. You will hear about their most inspiring teachers. About how yoga healed them on a physical or emotional level. A response you won’t hear? They decided to teach for the money.
Yoga is a booming industry, but it’s no secret that aside from the most successful and influential yoga teachers, earning a comfortable living as a yoga teacher is challenging, and often exhausting. For most, it means racing between multiple studios to teach 15-20 hours a week, balancing numerous part-time jobs or book-ending a full-time job with early morning and evening classes. Not to mention the hours spent preparing sequences, maintaining your personal practice and self-care.
So, how do you fulfill your calling without exhausting yourself and your bank account? How can you move beyond teaching group classes to grow your income and expand your reach?
Private sessions, workshops, retreats and online class offerings open new income streams and additional ways to expand and scale your business.
1. Teach Private Sessions. Working with clients one-on-one is a great way to deepen your relationship with existing clients. It also casts your net more widely; reaching those who are self-conscious about attending group classes, have physical limitations or injuries, or have schedules that aren’t conducive to studio hours.
A few tips:
- When setting your rates, don’t underestimate your worth or the time it will take you to prepare a customized sequence for an individual client’s needs. Research rates in your area, taking into account your level of experience and training. Consider multi-session discounts or referral discounts.
- Remind students in your group classes that private sessions are a way to focus on their specific goals and go more in-depth on certain poses they may have questions about or want to build upon.
- Ask questions to develop a clear understanding of the client’s goals, experience level and any physical limitations before the session. Take the time to adequately prepare, doing additional research as needed. Ask for feedback after the session and be open to opportunities for improvement.
2. Lead Workshops. Workshops can be beneficial for both you and your clients. They offer you more revenue and growth as a teacher and your students gain a path to deepening their practice and moving past plateaus. When designing and leading workshops, you aren't restricted by the structure and time limitations of a standard 60 to 90 minute class and can delve more deeply into concepts, postures, and techniques.
A few tips:
- Begin planning a few months in advance. Choose a theme or specialty that you are passionate about, feel confident teaching and know students are interested in.
- Be creative! The theme could be seasonal (think New Year’s Intention Setting, Mother’s Day Restorative) or targeted for students with certain focus areas (Yoga for Back Care, Yoga for Healthy Hips).
- Market the workshop and build excitement. Create a flyer to distribute at your group classes and post at your studios or gyms. Include teasers on your social media outlets and in e-newsletters. Network with other wellness professionals and ask them to share with their clients.
Most importantly: create an experience, make it memorable and have fun. Your payout will extend beyond the earnings from privates or workshops in the form of loyal clients.
About the Author:
Debbie Fox-Lopez is a 500-hour certified yoga instructor. She discovered yoga in her early 20s as a way to unwind from a demanding corporate job and to cross-train for long-distance running. After experiencing the positive effects of yoga on her body and mind, she was determined to learn as much as she could about the practice and to share it with others. She completed her 200- and 300-hour yoga teacher trainings with YogaWorks in the San Francisco Bay Area and in NYC. She has taught in both corporate and studio settings and is inspired by helping others improve their quality of life through yoga. She loves spending time on and off the mat with her two young daughters, husband and dog.